Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cloth | A review of our first year using cloth diapers

Month 1.
Disposables. I was so tired I just couldn’t take the cloth diapering plunge. We tried, but I thought they were too big on Seb. Turns out I just didn’t have a very good understanding of how cloth diapers are supposed to look. Vanity and sleep deprivation triumph.
Month 2.
We start cloth part time. I definitely have Cody to thank for ever truly starting us down the cloth diapering road. During month 2, he used cloth and I used disposable. Ok, sometimes I used cloth.
We also realized the sheer insanity of using disposable wipes with cloth diapers. We bought our first supply of cloth wipes and the world was a more peaceful place. Our wipe solution is just one drop of tea tree oil mixed with water and put in a small spray bottle.
Month 3.
Cloth full-time. So what happened between months 2 and 3? I really don’t know, to be honest. Towards the end of month 2, I decided to use cloth at home and disposables when we went out. This worked as a great transition time for us, but I honestly can’t imagine doing that all the time. You find yourself playing a guessing game of “Now when am I leaving the house, and when does his diaper need changed? So, if I’m leaving at ___ o’clock, then I should change him into disposables at...” You get the picture. I know this works for many people, but it was too much of a hassle for me.
I think as I started cloth diapering more, I realized the beauty and simplicity of it. I also realized some of the practical benefits of cloth. At first, it was just and economic decision, i.e. cloth diapers = cheap. But then I realized a few other things. 
  1. Cloth diapers don’t smell nearly as bad, or at all, when they’re on your baby or when they’re in the pail. First, I learned that urine interacts with the chemicals in your baby’s disposable diapers to produce that rancid pee-diaper smell. Second, not only do you not have the pee-diaper smell with cloth, you get rid of the poo in the toilet and aren’t storing it in your house. Our diaper pail is a simple, no frills metal garbage can (that we keep in our bedroom!), and we’ve never been able to smell it. But oh, when we used disposables, my sister would come into our apartment and say, “Wow, it smells like poopy diapers in here.” That’s not really something you want to hear.
  2. Less, or no diaper rash. We’ve all heard it, but I was surprised at how bothered I would be any time Seb’s bottom was even a little red. When my friend who works in the NICU saw my baby’s tush, she said, “Wow! His cloth-diapered bottom looks so good!” Now that’s a nice thing to hear.
  3. Poop. Whether it’s cloth or disposable, you will have to touch it. So don’t let that be a hang-up. I have a gross story, but I’ll spare you.
  4. I hope to talk about this more in depth later, but using cloth diapers as a stay-at-home mom has really helped me feel like I was doing something beautiful. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’re choosing the harder thing for the sake of your family. I’m not able to work outside our home and thus help bring in an income, so knowing that I’m saving our family thousands of dollars is wonderful. 
Months 4-10ish.
On a roll. Cloth diapering continued full-time for us. We switched varieties of prefolds somewhere along the way, which made things much easier. Bonus: the ones we use now are way less expensive. Probably the most difficult part for us has been traveling (although our moms, who both used cloth diapers, are very supportive and let us wash them at home), and the squirmy stage, which never seems to end. It’s hard to put a cloth diaper on a baby who has just discovered how to roll over...
Months 10-12.
The experts & wool. After months of cloth-diapering, we have a pretty flawless system, and we both love it. In fact, disposable diapers are very unappealing to me now. I’m already trying to figure out how we’re going to cloth diaper during our week-long trip to Seattle... in December.
We also discovered the beauty of wool diapers covers/soakers. Not only are they irresistibly cute, they are breathable and naturally regulate temperature. This means that they are great for Winter and Summer. With a simple lanolizing treatment, wool holds up to 30% of the moisture that it comes into contact with. It was difficult at first to know how often to change Seb, but we have a rhythm now, and I think he’s better off for it. We change him a bit more often, now that we know the wool will get damp if we wait too long. This makes him more comfortable, and take “diaper rash” out of our vocabulary. Wool is also great, because instead of wetness just leaking out at night, the wool helps absorb it, so your baby and the sheets stay dry.
So here we are. Seb is 1 year old, and we have had an amazing experience with cloth. Don’t let the ins and outs of it scare you. I won’t lie and say it’s easy, because it’s not (at first). But if you really want to do it, and you stay committed, you will be so happy you did. You can love cloth diapering, too.
There are so many online resources (my favorite) that have really helped us navigate the world of cloth. I hope you’ll consider giving it a try!
Our first prefolds (I don’t recommend these) 
Our current prefolds (I love these)
Thirsties PUL covers (We used these for the entire year, but are now exclusively using wool)
Our daytime wool covers (we have 3 and will use these as training pants later)

image one: My sister "eating" Seb. He is wearing his daytime wool cover.

1 comment:

  1. Seriously, I'm saving this post for when I have kids, so much good information! Thanks! :)